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Woman of many names... Wife, mother, daughter, friend, sister, ect. But the title most treasured... Child of God. Isa. 9:6

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Blog post are few and far between here lately. The Volpes feel as if they have had wheels permanently fixed to their rears...and the running is not over yet. Don't get me wrong I am thankful for all the opportunities the Lord has blessed us with these past weeks and I am VERY GRATEFUL for the strength he has given us during this busy time :)

We were able to spend a week with our dear friends Rob and Sarabeth. We arrived Wednesday evening and they gave birth to their sweet baby girl, Faith, on Thursday morning. I say with tears of joy and sadness that I will never be the same after that week. Baby Faith's story has impacted SO MANY. Through her life she has shared with others salvation, forgiveness, healing and conviction. Her life allowed her parents to remind us all of true faith! I can not even find the words to express how proud I am to call Rob and Sarabeth friends and siblings in Christ!

Bryan was asked to share a letter at Faith's memorial service written to her from her parents. The letter is posted on Sarabeth's blog and I strongly encourage you all to read it. But before he read the letter he shared a few thoughts of his own. I wanted to share them with you because his words so perfectly explained the feelings he and I shared during this week:

    "I would like to start by saying what a privilege it is to know Rob and Sarabeth, their children, family and friends. And to have been welcomed into such an exceptional family. I would also like to say what an honor it has been to experience with them the story and life of Faith. I am reminded today of one of my favorite chapters from scripture, Hebrews 11. Two words in Hebrews 11 stand out to me...those words are "BY FAITH". As each of us commit to memory this chapter of our lives let it be said that BY FAITH Rob and Sarabeth Vaughn demonstrated to us and the world true Christian faith. Just as the word Christian means to be Christ-like; like Christ, when faced with His death prayed: "Father, if thou be willing remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done", then laid down His life to provide salvation to everyone who will believe in Him. Rob and Sarabeth have demonstrated through Faith, an unfailing trust in God with the life of their child. Wanting her life and story to bring their family, friends and the world to salvation through Jesus Christ. And for that they will always be remembered by me, and I pray by you, as HEROES OF FAITH. -Bryan Volpe"

Rob and Sarabeth kept saying while we were down there, "Thank you for being here", "Thank you for all of your help", thank you, thank you, thank you...They have no idea that we are the ones who will be eternally grateful to them. I am going to steal Sarabeth's coined phrase...but it is so true: We have found that OUR faith has been renewed through the story of Faith Mackenzie Vaughn. God smile upon Rob and Sarabeth when He found them strong and steadfast to be the parents and storytellers of Faith's precious little life. It broke our hearts to leave them. I told Bryan the pain felt like it did when we moved away from them over two years ago, he replied: "no, it hurts worse".

We returned to good ole Va and were greeted by our sweet kids (yes, I left them 700 miles away!), our family and our church family. We hit the door running though...we will be returning to Fla in 6 days to celebrate my brother's high school graduation. In the mean time we have our regular church schedule to maintain, I have two cakes due on Friday, Cheyenne has a dance recital, we are putting on a church yard sale/bake sale and I have to catch up on laundry, re-pack and hit then hit the road again!!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

Super Blogger

Can't keep a good blogger down...
Sarabeth just updated her blog. I thought that you all might want to hear her words...
Check it out: http://sarabethandrob.blogspot.com/2011/05/our-faith-renewed.html

Let the praises ring...

This will be quick. Most will have already heard the news, but I don't want to leave any loose ends. Baby Faith was born yesterday around 11:30am. Her time in this world was brief, but she was able to spend it in the arms of her sweet and loving parents. Although Faith did not receive the physical healing we were hopeful for, many other prayers were answered. Her time here was peaceful and her story continues to touch many. The Vaughn's appreciate the continued prayers.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hope in Faith...

I decide to post a summery of the journey that my good friend Sarabeth has been traveling the past 9 months. Many of my blog stalkers know her story and maybe even follow her blog. However I am hopeful that I will have many more posts coming this week about her new baby Faith and I thought it would be a good idea to catch everyone up. And what better way to do that than through excerpts take from SB's very own blog :)

Oct. 4th, 2010
"We are excited to announce that the Vaughn family will grow from 4 to 5 in May, 2011! Although we were surprised ( a great surprise!), He is not. He knew this child before it was formed in the womb. (Jeremiah 1:5)
I will have to be honest. I have been extremely worried. I suffered an ectopic pregnancy before SaraGrace, and for some reason could not shake the fact that something is going to happen this time. I have cried, lost sleep, and prayed and prayed and prayed, like 4 to 5 times an hour. Finally, I stopped worrying long enough to listen to what God had to say...SaraBeth, if you’re not trusting me, you’re trusting someone or something. Are you really going to trust Satan over me?"

Oct. 13th, 2010
"I went in for a second ultrasound due to some complications I have been having. It took the tech a while to find the baby, but she finally did. While it did have a heartbeat, it hasn’t grown like it should in the past two weeks. She also found a blood clot in my uterus. All of these findings came to one diagnosis…threatened miscarriage."

Oct. 19th, 2010
"When Amy (the ultrasound lady) did her thing, she found a PERFECT healthy baby with a strong heartbeat of 182 (a girl, possibly?)  There was no clot to be found ANYWHERE!  The baby measured 7 weeks 6 days, and looked exactly like it was supposed to."

Nov. 2nd, 2010
"Ever since I found out I was pregnant, I knew deep down this one was going to be different.  I was scared in a lot of ways because you just don’t know what God’s plans are.  The last few weeks have been a roller coaster to say the least.  But God has been faithful, and proven His power over and over."

Nov. 16th, 2010
"I just wanted to let you know the outcome of our doctors appointment yesterday. It was our first appointment with the perinatologist at Shands. They performed a level 2 ultrasound. The definite diagnosis of our baby BOY is that he has suffered from Amniotic Band Syndrome. This is a condition in which the inner amniotic membrane ruptured at some point, and in an effort to fuse back together, became tangled within the trunk (from the chest to the pelvis) of our baby. Once the bands are fused back together, they constrict and pull, which ultimately has left all of the organs exposed, including the heart and the lungs. This is a very severe case, with no treatment option.
The doctor gave us only one option, which was to terminate. We do not feel that is an option for us. We have decided to carry our little boy until God sees fit to take him home. Obviously we are devastated to say the least. However, we are holding on to the fact that His plan is always perfect. We know that He has a purpose for our baby, no matter how short his life may be. Please just pray for us that we will have the peace that can come only from Him. These next few weeks are going to be tough, but we know the love of our Savior will sustain us."

Nov. 19th, 2010
"It has been only 4 days since we got the news of our baby.  It seems like an eternity!  But we are clinging to Jesus and all the things we have to be thankful for."

Dec. 8th, 2010
"Yesterday was a tough day. I have had a really good two weeks, and have been overwhelmed with peace and strength, but yesterday was a breakdown. We had an ultrasound appointment. I wanted so badly to include our baby on our Christmas cards this year, so they scheduled another ultrasound. Amy, our ultrasound tech, is AMAZING!"...

"I asked Amy to confirm that it really was a Mack. Guess what! It's a GIRL! So Mack is now Faith Mackenzie Vaughn. Rob picked out the name Faith, because that is the only thing that keeps us going."...

"I find myself in a place between having faith in God that He can heal our baby girl, and also having faith in God that even if it is not His plan that our child be healed, He is the same as He was before this child came to be. I know that He is the Great Physician, and that He could heal her in an instant. But I also know that His plan may be different than my plan for our child. And if it is, it doesn’t mean He loves us or our daughter any less. In fact, He has confidence in us that we can tell His story."

Jan. 20, 2011
"We have had a great week! It started with a doctor’s appointment on Tuesday, and Faith had a good strong heartbeat. We have set the date of our c-section for May 11th. Wow! That will be here before you know it. While I was in there, I scheduled an ultrasound for Wednesday morning."...

"Wednesday morning, I picked up Amy and went to my appointment. If you’ll remember, the last one was very hard. I didn’t share this with you then, but I can share with you now. As a symptom/side effect of this limb-body-wall complex (Amniotic Band Syndrome), the baby typically shows signs of scoliosis. Faith had a SEVERE case of it. She was folded almost completely in half, with her legs over her face.  However, yesterday, God showed us how he works, even in the smallest of details. I was prepared for the worst! But, when Faith showed her little face on that screen, her body had been straightened out. Her legs and feet were where they were supposed to be. What a blessing! We could see all of her beautiful perfect little face, and I just thanked God right then and there for being there with me. I am also excited to report that from the beginning, she has measured far behind where she should be. Yesterday, she was only measuring 1 week behind. While it does still appear that her diagnosis is the same, God has worked in some miraculous ways!!! Her stomach and bladder appeared to be normal this time, which was far different than the last."

Jan 28th, 2011
"Our appointment yesterday was met with mixed emotions."...

"As our baby appeared on the screen, she was kicking around like a ninja.  We got some really cute pictures of her face and hands."...

"She looked pretty much the same as last week, EXCEPT her heart is definitely in her chest cavity, though it is not covered by anything in the front.  The consensus last week was that it was on the outside.  It also looked perfectly healthy, with ALL FOUR CHAMBERS.  God is GOOD!!!"...

"I felt the urging over and over to ask and make sure we were definitely looking at a fatal diagnosis. “Are we sure there is nothing that can be done?” He thought for a moment. He explained that the main issue is not that the organs aren’t there, or that they aren’t developed properly. Because they are all there, and perfectly developed. But that it would be really hard to close up the chest and abdomen once they put all of the organs back in place. She doesn’t have a diaphragm, so they would have to construct one. But he did offer this…
I go back in March. He will scan me again, then conference with his peers and pediatric surgeons to get their opinion on what could be done if anything. The good news is that we never even thought this was possible. Though this would seem like great news, it is met with great anxiety. Will we know what implications will come with any surgeries should we decide to go that route? We do not want to put our daughter through anything that would prolong any pain or suffering. Our number one priority is to glorify God in all that we do, and we do not want to interfere with what He has planned for her life. So we are now desperately seeking guidance from the Lord as to what we should do. Please rejoice with us as we know that God is working miracles in the little things. But also pray for us as we seek what God would have us do in the life of our daughter."

March 2nd, 2011
"We had an appointment at Shands yesterday, and God has been working many more miracles on her little body. Her spine looks much better than it did 4 weeks ago. It now appears she is only affected from her underarms to just below the chest cavity, versus the pelvis as previously diagnosed. He also pointed out that most of the abdominal contents have “settled back into the body.” Folks, those organs haven’t settled into the body, the Great Physician has been at work and proving to us and to these doctors that He will have the final say! We even heard the doctor say that she did not appear to be as extreme as they had originally diagnosed. His feeling is that the outcome will ultimately be the same, because she doesn’t have anything covering her chest to create a pressure system for her lungs to work. She does not have a sternum, and they are not 100% sure that she has a diaphragm. But they are sure that the heart is within the chest cavity. But he gave us the name of the surgeon he will be meeting with, and is going to do his best to meet this week.

But…my sister, Kiss, works at Shands and miraculously ran into our named pediatric surgeon this morning (again, God is with us and working diligently). She introduced herself, then proceeded to tell him about our Faith. He said that without looking at our films yet, it sounds as if she may suffer from Pentalogy of Cantrall. This birth defect has a series of 5 things that can ultimately be wrong: the organs on the outside of the body, little to no sternum, little to no diaphragm, no pericardium (the membrane surrounding the heart) and possible heart defect. He said he believes that all of these defects can be fixable, but he would need to look at our case. He gave her his number and had me call and schedule a consultation with him. He will hopefully meet with our perinatologist tomorrow. My sister was quick to inform him that the last thing we want for our daughter is to prolong any pain or suffering, or for her to have no quality of life. He was thankful she shared that with him, and said he would be in contact with us.

I share all of this to let you know that while this is all very exciting, it comes with some great decisions that are to be made. Some would say it gives false hope, others say it draws out the grieving process. But I want to say that our hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ. Not a doctor, not a cure, not a fix. He will ultimately determine the outcome of Faith’s life! And we are grateful to Him that He is faithful. He knows what’s best for her, even better than we do. If He sees fit to take her to Heaven, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt He has been working through her and in her the entire time. We have seen with our own two eyes, the miracles that have taken place in her little body, and no one can argue that it was only God! Even the doctors!!!

Our prayer is now that we will have a clear direction in decisions that may be coming our way. God has been faithful to provide us guidance and peace thus far, and I know He will not stop doing that now. We want His will for her life and for ours, and we are willing to be a part of whatever He decides."

March 3rd, 2011
" I know it’s hard  to believe, but we got even more great news last night.  My perinatologist (Dr. D) called while I was in choir practice, so I called him back once I got in the car.  He has met with the pediatric surgeon (Dr. K), and the chief doctor over the NICU, and they are very encouraged at the thought this may very well be Pentalogy of Cantrall!"...

"But Dr. K needs more information to make an exact diagnosis, so I am going for a fetal MRI to get an exact picture of what Faith’s little body looks like."

"Dr. D was quick to say that this prognosis would still be guarded, but far less grim than the Amniotic Band Syndrome. He said he didn’t want to give us any false hope until we could get the MRI. I just told him that God is proving everyday that He, and only He, is in control. If indeed we go to the MRI to find out our diagnosis remains the same, we will be confident that we have done everything we can to be informed, and we will be thankful for the opportunity to gather more information. I will update once I know when the MRI will take place."

Mach 15th, 2011

"We received the preliminary report yesterday from our MRI.  I wanted to wait until we heard from the Pediatric Surgeon, as it seems as though he is the final MEDICAL authority on our case.  We have not heard from him yet, but I did want to share what we found out...

Dr. D called me yesterday morning, after he had been out of the country all last week. His tone seemed very encouraging, but it seemed as though I held my breath throughout the entire conversation. So here is what the report showed:

•Faith’s head and brain look perfect! They are normal and healthy. Praise the Lord!
•Her spine is still curved. They thought she might have spina bifida, but her spinal cord is healthy and intact. Therefore, she is not paralyzed, and they can treat her scoliosis at a later date. Praise the Lord!
•She has a diaphragmatic hernia, which they believe is caused by the pentalogy of cantrall. She does have a partial diaphragm, and it is only missing on the left side. Praise the Lord!
•Her right lung is perfectly healthy and normal, and her left lung is compressed. This is caused by the abdominal organs that have pushed up through the chest cavity. Dr. D says that if they can get those organs resituated, that lung should heal and function as it should. Praise God!
•Her heart is 100% inside the chest cavity, and is PERFECTLY HEALTHY. No heart defects were detected. Thank you, Jesus!
•Her right kidney is healthy, but they could not see her left one. Dr. D explained that there are tons of people walking this earth with only one healthy kidney. He did not feel like this was a huge obstacle. Amen!
•Some of her abdominal contents are still outside the body. Dr. D wasn’t too terribly concerned with that as well. Praise God!

Regardless of what Dr. K reports, we will continue to pray for God’s will to be done in the life of our Faith. He’s still knitting her together, piece by piece, and what a testament she is to the power of our Father and the power of prayer."

April 5th, 2011
"Yesterday, our hopes of bringing home a baby girl were shattered yet again! We met with Dr. K, believing that we would be making plans for surgery, for her care in the NICU, going over the long list of questions I had prepared for him, so that I could be prepared for what this life had to give our daughter. None of OUR plans were even heard. Dr. K was there to tell us that he had reviewed our MRI, and he believed that the abdominal repair would be much too great for Faith to survive it. He said that his life is saving babies that cannot be saved. But nothing in him believed our Faith is “fixable.” I felt as if the calendar had turned back to November 15th, 2010 when we first received the news that our child did not stand a chance. So much up and down, hope and no hope, and we sat there once again with the wind knocked out of us and all we had once hoped for."

April 18th, 2011
"We have been asked some tough questions lately, and frankly, I haven’t known how to answer them. I have lost some sleep over it, because I wanted to make sure that in our efforts to be obedient to God, that we NEVER place doubts with anyone of the power of our Lord.
One of the things we have been struggling with is about praying for a miracle, and believing that God is going to perform it. There is a difference between believing God CAN perform a miracle, and knowing that He is GOING TO DO IT.
As a parent, obviously our heart’s desire is to bring home a perfectly happy, healthy baby girl, who will aggravate SaraGrace in the way she has aggravated her brother. I would love to be able to look forward (or dread) the sleepless nights, bringing her to work with me everyday, trying to make up with her what I have lacked with the others.
But one thing we desire ABOVE ALL…..above our heart’s desires, above our need to rescue our baby, above the gut feeling that the world needs to see a miracle, above the fact that so many people are praying for our sweet daughter….we desire to trust God with everything we have, that His will is perfect, and that HE will get the glory in all of the details of May 19th."

May 9th, 2011
"They did an ultrasound to check on Faith, and see what she is up to. She has gotten soooooo BIG! We watched as she opened and closed her little mouth, and it was just so sweet. They were also able to watch her do some practice breathing, which is something they didn’t know she would be able to do. Dr. D showed us all of the little pieces of vernix floating around, and told us that was a good indication that her lungs were fully developed. Now I don’t think they can tell anything about the compressed lung on an ultrasound, so that is something we will have to wait and see about."

May 12th, 2011"Dear Jesus,

Help us to cling to you and your word as we find our way the next few days. Thank you for your promises, and for your mercy and grace, though we don’t deserve one minute of it. Help us to look to you for guidance, and not be swayed by the ways of the world. As your word tells us that we cannot understand the work of God, help us to trust completely in you, regardless if we understand or not.

May 17th, 2011"We are now into the last 48 hours of my pregnancy. There are days that it seems like I have been pregnant forever, yet on the other hand, it’s hard to believe that in less than two days we are going to look into those sweet (probably blue if I had to bet) eyes for the first time. I am filled with so many emotions, yet I have a peace knowing that God has already orchestrated all of the details of Thursday."...

"Yesterday was tough. It was my last doctor’s appointment. As I was driving to get the kids, I was listening to my Selah cd, and the song “Oh Draw Me Lord” came on. I just cried out to Jesus asking Him to draw us closer to Him during the next few days. I begged for Him to give us the strength and the courage for what lies before us. I asked Him to take the nerves from me, so that we will not lose focus on what He is going to do. And can I tell you, I had an immediate peace just come over me. He just whispered in my ear, “I’m right here. I haven’t gone anywhere.” I know the next days, even weeks will not be easy, but I do know that God will carry us through them. We have NO idea what will happen on Thursday, but He has promised that He does."

These posts really just scratch the surface of the rollercoaster that Sarabeth has been on the past 9 months. But through it all she has kept hope in Faith and all that the Lord has planned for her. I am so proud of her and her wittness through this trying time...and I know that her Heavenly Father is proud too! So now you are up to date and you can join us as we wait a pray!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Easiest recipe I know!!

If you know me and I have fed you more than twice, you have probably had my enchiladas :) It is my "go-to", quickest and easiest recipe and I keep the ingredients in my house at all times...that's easy to do since there is only three of them! No they're not like a real authentic Mexican meal, but they are good and my family loves them. Since I am pressed for time here lately (and slipping back in to my bad blog habits) I thought it would be fitting to share my best "busy mom recipe".

You will need:

     Frozen Burritos                             Enchilada Sauce -mild       Shredded Cheese
 (your favorite variety)                                                                               (1-2 cups)

Pre-heat oven to 350 deg. Place frozen burritos in a greased 9x13 pan. Pour Enchilada sauce over the burritos. Bake for 25-30 min. Pull out the pan, sprinkle with cheese and continue backing for an additional 10-15 min, or until the cheese is completely melted. Serve with your favorite taco toppings like sour cream lettuce, salsa, etc.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Growing in Grace

No one seeks to fail and if you are seeking the will of the Lord he doesn't want to see you fail either. Today during my study time I found yet another promise of this. Stuff like this is too good not to share :) I decided to post this just as I studied it. I have a Thomas Nelson King James Study Bible (if you are looking to make a Bible purchase I highly recommend this one). My Bible contains study notes at the bottom that break the passages down. The verses are posted in black and the highlighted areas contain the study notes from my Bible and a few of my own notes. I pray that God speaks to you as He did to me through these verses.

2Peter 1:3-11
(3)According as His divine power ("His divine power" is a title of God given by Jews who revered Him so much that they would not pronounce His name)  hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: (Meaning we find all the tools that we need to lead a godly life through Jesus)  (4)Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (He is setting us up for success not failure)

In the following passages Peter urges his readers to grow to spiritual maturity:
(5)And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith ("add to your faith" in dictates the areas of growth after salvation) virtue (moral excellence) ; and to virtue knowledge (spiritual truth) ; (6)And to knowledge temperance (self-control) ; and to temperance patience (endurance) ; and to patience godliness (God-likeness) ; (7)And to godliness brotherly kindness (brotherly love) ; and to brotherly kindness charity (volitional love) . (8)For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (9)But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off (or has no vision for his purpose/calling) , and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

(10)Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: (Peter is not referring to falling from salvation but to failure in Christian living)
And here is the promise: (11)For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

God spoke through Peter to show us the tools we needed for success. He desires for us to live well. He wishes for peace in our lives, but peace does not come by having everything "worked out" in the world. You can have a peaceful spirit even in the midst of tribulation if you know you are living in accordance to His will and calling on your life. Seek growth through God everlasting grace.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

The Power of Prayer

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."  2 Chron. 7:14

Christian, if you seek to help your country...pray for repentance in America and remember the importance of National Day of Prayer!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Keeping up with the Kid-os :)

It has just dawned on me how much my kids have changed in the past few months and I have been a terrible blog mom for not keeping up with such milestones. So here is a whirlwind of updates on each kid (hopefully a video post will follow soon) :

She has somewhat started school in the fall. However we are homeschooling and the program we chose does not offer a pre-school program so we ordered the Kindergarten program and are using some of the material to make our own pre-school curriculum.

She can count to 100 with the help of the Number Train ( flash cards).

She can recognize small words ( I think by memory) and has began to sound out words. We are right on the verge of reading :)

She has ended her second year of dance and is considering switching to gymnastics in the fall.

She continues her love of everything babies! When she plays, it's babies. When she watches TV she request shows like Baby Story and Bringing Home Baby. And more than any of this she LOVES real babies! She is also getting interested in health. Things like growing and which foods are healthy choices. I think we have a future doctor on our hands...or a well trained and very intelligent mom!

Her and Ryker get along most days. He loves to mock her...even if that means rocking a baby doll!


Growing like a WEED!

He is talking up a storm. He can say just about anything you ask him to say. It might not come out quite that clear...but he still tries :)

Favorite food: Chicken Nuggets

Least Favorite Food: Lunch meat. He hates it! So funny :)

He doesn't really have a favorite color that I know for sure, but when given the option on cars or trains he usually always picks the blue ones.

He loves to read books (Brown Bear, Brown Bear is his favorite) and he loves to sing songs!

He is becoming quite the attention junkie! He is a total ham and will do anything to get a laugh out of you!

Cake, Cake and more Cake!!!

These are the three cake I did this past week:

A birthday cake for my mother-in-law.

This was a special requested birthday cake for one of our youth. He gave me specific directions. A boy who looked like him but had a blue Elmo hoodie on and was holding a basketball. So...

This picture turned out a little dark, but it is a bridal shower cake for a friend of a friend :) The cake is actually deep purple if you can't tell.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Old Lady

So while we were getting ready for church yesterday, Cheyenne was comparing our outfits: "Look mommy, we both have on black shoes and a dress with buttons". Then Bryan called from the other room, "Cheyenne, you don't want to look like her, she is and OLD LADY!" (oh yes, he went there!). Then Cheyenne came back in my defense...or so she thought "She's not OLD ...or a LADY!".